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Example of a Visionary Genius

Posted 9 years ago

Albert Einstein – Visionary Genius

More than anyone else, Albert Einstein is sort of the official, poster-boy for genius, an all-purpose genius of the last millennium. When I asked people for names that they associated with the idea of genius, Einstein was always in the top ten, and usually he was the first. I’m sure your response would have been very similar. But how much do you know about what Einstein actually did? You’ve heard about his efforts to reveal the visionary genius in yourself. Born in 1879, in southern Germany. There are lots of true and unusual stories about him. There are also many myths and misconceptions attributed to him. You may have heard, for example, that Einstein, this great mathematical genius, flunked his math classes in grade school. It’s not true that he flunked any of his classes. Many of his strict and disciplinary teachers were simply too boring to tolerate, so he preferred walks in nature to dull lectures. He still managed to pass all their tests. Even in college he borrowed a friend’s notes rather than go to class. So while it’s not true that he ever flunked, he passed using some unconventional methods. His teachers did not appreciate this creativity. Years after graduating, Albert discovered the cost for that uniqueness. A bad recommendation from his advisor delayed his admission to graduate school. You may also have heard that Einstein didn’t learn to speak until he was much older than the average child. This is true. Einstein didn’t speak until he was nearly three years old. Of course, it’s always possible that he knew how to speak but didn’t feel he had anything worth saying — and least not yet. Einstein didn’t sweat the small stuff! There’s a story about Einstein when he was on the faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, New Jersey. This was and still is the highest powered and prestigious intellectual environment in the world. One day Einstein was walking through the leafy streets near his home, and he encountered a fellow scholar. The two men chatted for a while, but as they were about to go their separate ways Einstein had a final question: “When we met a moment ago, was I walking toward my house, or away from it?” Einstein’s colleague was a little puzzled by this question, but he replied that in fact the great scientist had been walking away from his house. And Einstein seemed pleased to hear this. “That’s good,” he said. “It means I’ve already had my lunch.” You see, Einstein liked to think big. Or maybe it was more than just liking it. Thinking big came naturally to him. This was a man who could map the distance across the universe on the back of a napkin with a pencil. In 1905, Einstein was 26 years old. That’s when he proved his discovery and the concept that will forever be associated with his name — the theory of special relativity. Einstein’s thought processes just kept widening our focus. He went from the special theory of relativity, to the general theory. He kept thinking bigger and bigger, and he didn’t let too many things get in his way. He once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” He also said, “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” Well, let’s think about that for a moment. Let’s acknowledge that it takes a very good theory and a lot of nerve to say something like that. But let’s also realize that when Albert Einstein talks about not bothering about the facts, it’s different than you or I not bothering to notice stop signs or red lights. In other words, the essence of visionary genius is that it’s visionary. It’s imaginative and creative, which has great value in its own right. Thinking big like a visionary genius is a great thing to do, even if you don’t come up with a practical application for your thoughts. Dr. Tony Alessandra has authored 14 books translated into 17 foreign languages, recorded over 50 audio and video programs, and delivered over 2,000 keynote speeches since 1976.  This article has been adapted from Dr. Alessandra’s Nightingale-Conant audio CD series, Secrets of Ten Great Geniuses